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Semana Santa procession, Santo Entierro, Ronda, Andalucia.
Semana Santa procession, Santo Entierro, Ronda, Andalucia.

Processions in Semana Santa

Holy week processions throughout Andalucia may differ according to the traditions of each city or town. However, there is a general order to most, starting with a large cross, cruz de guía, that is followed by a group of participants bearing lanterns. The rest follow these leaders and are known as penitentes and nazarenos. The centre of attention, however, is the floats - usually two - with their respective images of Christ and the Virgin Mary. These massive, heavy floats are carried on the shoulders, or necks, of numerous members of the religious associations that care for them throughout the year. It is a particular honour to carry the floats and some will even do so barefoot as a sign of extreme penitence.

To the outsider all of these floats might look fairly similar. To the insider, however, nothing could be further from the truth. Each image of Christ and Mary is totally unique and has a special name that points to the legend surrounding that particular version of the figure.

Following are a few examples, with their English translations:

Christ Figures

  • Nuestro Padre Jesus el Cautivo - Our Father Christ the Captive
  • Señor de Sevilla - Lord of Seville
  • Cristo del Gran Poder - Christ of the Great Power
  • Cristo de Pasión - Christ of the Passion
  • Cristo de la Expiración el Viernes Santo - Christ of the Holy Friday Expiration
  • Gitano del Polvorín - Gypsy of the Gunpowder

Virgin Mary Figures

  • Virgen del Rocio - Virgin of the Dew
  • Virgen de la Macarena
  • Virgen de la Esperanza - Virgin of Hope
  • Virgen de Dolores Coronado - Virgin of Crowned Pains
  • Virgen de la Victoria - Virgin of the Victory




To find out when each procession will be leaving its church and what its route will be, there are various sources of information which carry information on all the town or city's processions.

Particularly the weekend before Easter, many local papers will publish a guide for the coming week; also check the tourist office, which may also offer guides. Even though these guides are in Spanish, they are usually in the form of easy-to-decipher timetables, so that even non-Spanish speakers can to understand them. They will include the route and at what exact time the procession is expected to leave its church, pass each point, arrive at its destination, and return to its church again. In larger cities you will also find full guides to the colours of each hermandad, so you can identify them more easily, as well as a short history and even information about the statues.

To get the full experience of the most sacred moments of Holy Week in any Andalucian town, you need to follow some of the late night processions and experience a soulful saeta.

Watch a Semana Santa procession


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